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Debunking The Guardian's Azpilicueta Story

The Guardian just ran a story claiming Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Cesar Azplicueta. Yay! We need a right back, he's a right back, and he appears to be pretty good as well. So what's the problem with the story exactly? Well let's look at the new information that The Guardian is giving us:

Labrune told ESPN: "I have spoken to Chelsea's sporting director and they are easy to deal with. We have told them the price and they will come back and agree it or not. We would much prefer the player to sign a new contract and extend his stay with us, but he wants to go to Chelsea and it's a good club so we cannot stand in his way."

So where does that information come from? Well ESPN originally reported it here, in a story about Dave Whelan and Victor Moses. They have since added the same quotes to the end of this story about Cesar Azpilicueta, an odd development since they had already used the exact quote earlier in the day while attributing it to somebody else. What makes the situation more bizarre is the fact that ESPN's Azpilicueta story was originally published without the quote and later edited to add Whelan's remarks. In that time frame, several other news outlets (The Guardian included) had already cited ESPN as reporting LaBrune to have said exactly the same thing as Whelan.

I suppose there is the ridiculously slim possibility that 2 people involved with separate transfers happened to say exactly the same thing about Chelsea and their player during the same window, but I'd have to estimate the chances of that at somewhere below one in a trillion. It seems far more likely that ESPN writers have simply confused the [fun] out of themselves, or that their editor simply called in sick so they just went without. I suppose they could have had one of their on air people accidentally attribute Whelan's quote to the wrong story as well, but whatever they've done, they've confused the heck out of an awful lot of people. Regardless of how it happened, they've now got an awful lot of people believing LaBrune said something that he almost certainly didn't. Yay Silly Season!

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